Lawmakers Working to Help Create Safer, More Successful Schools Published: Upcoming congressional briefing to focus on research linking school safety, academics Washington, D.C. – “I can’t learn if I am afraid,” reads the first of several similar slides on the Conditions for Learning Coalition’s home page. It’s a sentiment most of us know instinctively, but more and more research is confirming its truth: School safety and positive behavior are directly linked to academic achievement, and social-emotional learning (SEL) is essential to all three. With that in mind, Committee for Children, a Seattle-based nonprofit and member of the Coalition, is hosting the first in a series of congressional briefings focused on creating schools that are safe, healthy, engaging and supportive. The briefing, titled “Social and Emotional Learning: Essential Skills for School Safety, Positive Behavior and Higher Student Achievement,” will take place on Thursday, February 7 on Capitol Hill. Among the speakers is Steve Zimmer, a member of Los Angeles Unified School District’s school board. Zimmer and his colleagues will provide an overview of evidence-based SEL strategies, show the research on the connection between SEL and academics, and specify examples of school districts that are using scarce resources to implement SEL in support of academic success. Other speakers at the briefing include Dorothy Espelage, Ph.D., of the University of Illinois; Lori Vollandt, Ed.D., of the Los Angeles Unified School District; Michael Searcy of Detroit Public Schools, and Joan Cole Duffell, Executive Director of Committee for Children. Says Duffell, ”Committee for Children is deeply honored to host this briefing to help build U.S. lawmakers’ awareness of the vital linkages between school safety, social-emotional learning, and children’s success in school. We feel doubly privileged to collaborate with this panel of nationally renowned researchers and practitioners whose work makes a real difference in children’s lives each and every day.” Want your member of Congress to attend this briefing? Tell them quickly and easily.